Index: 2 Kings

2 Kings is a historical narrative that likely originated with separate oral units of history that were combined into a written volume.

2 Kings 2:11
Who ascended first -- Jesus or Elijah?
2 Kings 2:11-13
Versus 1 Kings 19:19, when did Elisha pick up Elijah's mantle? Here's a counter-question: Does anyone run around naked for days or months at a time and live a normal life? No, and we can be sure Elijah put on another garment between 1 Kings 19:19 and this event quite some time later. It's not like Elijah owned only one suit.
2 Kings 2:23-4
"Isn't that thing with the bears too excessive?" -- also, Is the number 42 magical? And, see our vid below!
2 Kings 3:19
In light of this, what of the admonition to spare the trees in Deuteronomy 20:19? This verse in Kings says, And ye shall smite every fenced city, and every choice city, and shall fell every good tree, and stop all wells of water, and mar every good piece of land with stones. What about it, indeed? Deut. 20:19 refers to desroying trees for making siege engines which are fruit trees; as the next verse says, "Only the trees which thou knowest that they be not trees for meat, thou shalt destroy and cut them down; and thou shalt build bulwarks against the city that maketh war with thee, until it be subdued." This is not what is in mind in 2 Kings 3:19, which only orders the destruction of the "good" trees, the best ones -- which leaves behind other, smaller, younger trees.
2 Kings 3:27
Does this verse suggest a "weaker" Yahweh?
2 Kings 5:19
Then Pul king of Assyria invaded the land, and Menahem gave him a thousand talents of silver to gain his support and strengthen his own hold on the kingdom. One Skeptic claims that Assyria had no king named Pul. This is recognized as an alternate name of Tiglath-pileser III, then ruler of Assyria (and not one named "Iva-bish"). Shortened, alternate names were a common practice in the ANE. In fact, the equation of Pul with Tiglath-Pileser has been confirmed by the evidence of the Babylonian King List, which names "Pul" as king of Assyria at the time when Tiglath-Pileser was ruling. [Hobbs, commentary on Kings]

2 Kings 8:25-26, 9:29
Was Ahaziah forty-two (per 2 Chr. 22:2) or twenty-two when he ascended the throne? More likely 22, and 2 Chronicles has been hit by a copyist error. See our foundational essay on copyist errors for general background. In favor of the "22" reading in 2 Chronicles: The 2 Kings reading; some LXX and Syriac manuscripts, and that Chronicles calls Ahaziah Jehoram's "youngest son" (22:1) and Jehoram passed away a age 40 (21:20). The same sort of point may be made regarding whether Ahaziah began to reign in Joram's 11th or 12th year.
2 Kings 9:27
Ahaziah's death -- see principles in supplemental material
2 Kings 12:20-1
Where was Joash buried?
2 Kings 15:27
Is this an assured error in the original?
2 Kings 18:5, 23:25
In 2 Kings 18:5 it says that Hezekiah trusted in God and that there was no king of Judah like Hezekiah before or after him yet, 2 Kings 23:25 states that there was no king, before or after Josiah, who turned to the Lord in such as way as he did. How can this be resolved? It's one of those cases where we have to read the text in terms of their dramatic orientation. The compliments to Hezekiah and Josiah are both stereotyped phrases; it's not as though the Kings writer compiled formal rankings of all the kings on the basis of their righteousness, giving them points based on each deed, etc. Think of those passages as being like fan rhetoric at a football game.
2 Kings 19:28ff
Historical confirmation of the defeat of Sennacherib's army [Off Site] -- part of a larger essay
2 Kings 20:1-7
Does God change his mind?
2 Kings 22:8-11
Is this the origin story of Deuteronomy?
2 Kings 22:20
I will gather thee (Josiah) unto thy fathers, and thou shalt be gathered into thy grave in peace. One Skeptic says, "The Prophetess Huldah predicted that Josiah would die in peace. Yet 2 Kings 23:29-30 shows that Josiah was killed at Megiddo by the king of Egypt, buried in Jerusalem, and replaced by his son, Jehoahaz. One could hardly call this a peaceful death." But let’s go a bit further in this passage: Your eyes shall not see all the disaster that I will bring on this place. In context, what Huldah is saying is that he will be buried in a time of peace without any comment as to the manner of death. Josiah will not see the disaster that prophecied in the previous verses. There is nothing here about the nature of his death at all.

2 Kings 23:29-30
How did Josiah die?
2 Kings 24:6
Who was Jehoaikim's successor?
2 Kings 24:8
Was Jehoiachin 18 years old, or 8 (per 2 Chron. 36:9) when he ascended the throne? 18 is more likely, and is supported by one Hebrew mss., some LXX mss., and Syriac mss. Gleason Archer ( Encyclopedia of Bible Difficulties , 214-5) states: "A numerical system generally in use during the fifth century BC (when Chronicles was probably composed -- very likely under Ezra's supervision) features a horizontal stroke ending in a hook at its right end as the sign for "ten"; two of them would make the number "20". The digits under ten would be indicated by rows of little vertical strokes, generally in groups of three. Thus, what was originally written over one or more of these groups of short vertical strokes (in this case, eight strokes) would appear as a mere `eight' instead of `eighteen.'" See our foundational essay on copyist errors for general background.

Another noted issue: 2 Kings 24:8 which states the regnal length as three months, whereas 2 Chr 36:9 states three months and ten days. The author(s) of Kings, from the reign of Rehoboam on through Zedekiah (at the end of 2 Kings), presents regnal lengths in round figures. For those whose regnal length was more than twelve months, and exact year figure was given. So, if I reigned 17 months as King of Judah, Kings would either say my reign was one year or two years, rounding off the months figure. For those whose regnal length was less than twelve months (Zechariah, Shallum, Jehoahaz, and Jehoiachin), the author lists their reigns in exact months. The only special case here is Zimri, whose regnal length was a scant 7 days. But the internal testimony of Kings is that round figures are being used. 2 Kings used round numbers, the Chronicler used an exact count here.

2 Kings 24:17
Zedekiah: Father's brother or brother (2 Chr. 36:10)? One Skeptic thinks the relation stated is to Nebuchadnezzar, but he's not reading the English grammar properly. The relation is to Jehoiachin (24:15). But what is the relation, exactly? 2 Chr. says 'ach; 2 Kings says dowd 'ach. The word "brother" has a wide connotation referring to any male relative. 2 Kings is simply more specific.
2 Kings 25:8
When did Nebuzardan come to Jerusalem -- on the seventh or tenth (per Jer. 52:12) day of the month? There is no clear answer, but given that Kings likely used Jeremiah as a source, because of the close similarity indicating a direct (perhaps literary) dependence, 10 is more likely. Tekton associate Eric Vestrup consulted a table comparing the Hebrew letters as we know them with the corresponding forms of Hebrew letters from the fifth through ninth centuries BC. "Seventh" is listed a shin-beth-ayin-he while "tenth" is ayin-sin-yodh-resh . Beth and ayin look reasonably similar in ancient script, and since the text was unpointed, sin and shin would be indistinguishable, as they differ only by pointing. So the difference between shin-beth and ayin-sin as the first two letters of the words "seventh" and "tenth" seems reasonably explainable as two common errors: confusion of similar letters [ ayin and beth ] because of their visual resemblance and transposition of letters. Both of these copyist errors are common in any manuscript transmission. See our foundational essay on copyist errors for general background.
2 Kings 25:17, 19
Were the chapiters three cubits, or five (Jer. 52:22)? Were there five men, or seven (Jer. 52:24-5)? Neither is more likely in either case, but we likely have copyist errors. See our foundational essay on copyist errors for general background.